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Beginning Bluegrass Banjo DVD
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Guardala Crescent Tenor Saxophone MouthpieceThe Guardala Crescent tenor saxophone mouthpiece was designed to produce a sound that is reminiscent of the 963 John Coltrane album, "Crescent." The large bore and slight baffle work well together to a dark, brooding tone. As always, remember that the sound is inside the player rather than the equipment, but equipment can be biased in one direction or another. The Crescent's tendencies are toward a rich, dark sound, and is a great choice for the fan of the Guardala feel, but who want something without as much edge and cut. It has a slightly smaller tip than the other Guardala mouthpieces, a large bore and a smaller baffle. The Crescent gives the darkest sound of all Guardala mouthpieces (which is still bright compared to designs from other manufacturers).
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I am not one to write reviews but, in this case I felt it was warranted. Over the course of 40 years of playing, I have tried most every mpc out there with the exception of the Sugal. I have searched and spent a lot of time and money looking for what this mouthpiece offers. I LOVE THIS MOUTHPIECE!
Since the other reviewers have touched on the mechanics of the piece, I will speak more to the sound and what you and I might want from our mouthpiece.
I?ve gone through the 70?s and 80?s, in which the trend was ?edge?. (Dukoff, Beechler, Brilhart, etc.) That edge was great in a club when competing with electric instruments, but it was harsh and difficult to control in the studio. Then the trend seemed to go back to the more vintage warmer sounds. (Otto Link, hard rubber, etc.) Those setups certainly produce a more overall pleasing balanced tone, but generally lack projection, volume, and core. (For me at least) They also seem to lack ?velvet? or ?sheen? over the sound and I struggled with the feeling of ?stuffiness?.
What they?re both missing is ?complexity?. That means that from the bottom of the tone (note) to the top of the tone, all of the frequencies are present! When that happens the horn just opens up and sings with beautiful warmth AND clarity. (Bob Mintzer-ish with a touch of Brecker) It?s the difference between Van Morrison and Luther Vandross. (If you can?t appreciate that difference then don?t waste your money)
Although this mpc is billed as the ?darkest? of the Guardalas, don?t be fooled into thinking that it lacks clarity or playability. You will feel very little resistance as the horn fills with a warm but clear balanced sound. Ironically, it also ?screams? in the altissimo. Noticeably better than my Dukoff. Because all of your frequencies are present you can mix it however you want in the studio. Whether you want balanced & full, bright & thin, big, warm and velvety. They?re all there. You can?t however put in what?s not there. (Believe me? I?ve tried) The complexity of this mpc also makes it the most versatile piece I?ve ever played. It sounds good in just about any situation.
I?m too old to worry about impressing people when I play. My goal is now to touch them. Now, when I play my tenor, I spend my time trying to communicate emotion rather than struggling with equipment. My search is over. Good luck on yours.
Excellent piece for a hard bop sound. The tone is comparable to an Otto Link, though this piece is far more free blowing when compared to the somewhat high resistance of the modern Otto Link Super Tone Master. This piece also has a nice edge of high harmonics, putting it closer to the Super Tone Masters of the 1960's. The opening is about 7*, but because of its free blowing qualities it does not seem as big. It has a large chamber and a low baffle, though the baffle is a unique hybrid step baffle. A little like a Bobby Dukoff with more material taken off the back of the baffle so it slopes more gently into the chamber. The facing is rather long but the piece remains responsive, though more mouthpiece may have to be taken in than normal compared with other pieces. It has very nice symmetrical sidewalls that are scooped into the chamber. The side rails and tip rail are the thinnest I have seen, but expertly finished. They help lend the mouthpiece its resonant quality. The table is perfect and fit and finish of the body are beautiful. The only reservation I would say is that this mouthpiece is very slim in the mouth, and therefore needs time to accustom to. All in all a very good piece for generating that Coltrane sound it was designed to.
Despite the product description and reference to Trane, it's absolutely *nothing* like an Otto Link. It's on the opposite end of the spectrum.
It has a fairly slim exterior shape. The sound is pretty compact with a good amount of brightness and edge. Not to the extent of a Dukoff, metal Beechler or the other Guardala mpc's, but definitely more on the bright spectrum. It reminds me of a perfect "3" chambered SS Berg.
Intonation and response is very even, unlike Bergs. Low register speaks and is surprisingly full. My only criticism is the slim exterior shape. I liked it with #3 reeds.
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